Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR), Heidi Weng (NOR), Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN), left to right, dominated the World Cup podium at the mini tour in Lillehammer this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR), Heidi Weng (NOR), Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN), left to right, dominated the World Cup podium at the mini tour in Lillehammer this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus

The Madshus girls plastered the podium at the World Cup mini tour in Lillehammer: Heidi Weng won, Ingvild Østberg was second and Krista Pärmäkoski was third overall.

When Heidi Weng (NOR) won her first ever World Cup sprint race on home turf in Lillehammer on Friday, she could hardly believe it was true.

“I can’t believe I won a sprint. It’s amazing. I don’t really understand what happened at the end of the heat, but I felt that my technique was good and I double-poled really well. Still, I was expecting everyone to glide up on my side any time before the finish line, and I was thinking to myself that if I win this, it’s just sick. But I had such good skis, perfect grip and amazing glide. It was so fun,” Weng said after her race.

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Heidi Weng (NOR) during the 5km skate race at the FIS world cup in Lillehammer (NOR). Photo: Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng (NOR) during the 5km skate race at the FIS world cup in Lillehammer (NOR). Photo: Nordic Focus

On Saturday, Weng was back on the podium with a second place in the 5-kilometer skate race, which was the second stage of the mini tour. The first two stages left her with a 20-second lead for the final stage, the 10-kilometer classic pursuit on Sunday.

And on Sunday, Weng left no doubt: She was the queen of the mini tour. While she made it look easy, the 25-year-old admitted she never felt confident before crossing the finish line of the 10-kilometer classic pursuit. “The first lap was good, but on the second lap I was so stiff I took the corners easy. I was certain I would be caught on the last lap, and I was so happy that I managed to keep the gap all the way in. But I had to work so hard with my head. On that last hill, I was telling myself that I can’t give up now, but I was expecting to see Krista cruise by me at any point,” Weng said after the final stage of the mini tour.

While Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) fell short of the podium during the first two days of the mini tour, her performances at the sprint and skate races left her in second place overall prior to the final pursuit. On Sunday, she was beyond happy to be on the podium. “I had a goal to make the podium this weekend, and being second was more than I expected,” she said after her race on Sunday.

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Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) on her way to 2nd place in the final stage of the FIS World Cup mini tour in Lillehammer (NOR). Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) on her way to 2nd place in the final stage of the FIS World Cup mini tour in Lillehammer (NOR). Photo: Nordic Focus

Pärmäkoski was also excited about her mini tour in Lillehammer, and especially her last race on Sunday, where she also posted the fastest time of the day despite a dramatic fall on the last lap.

“I felt like I was flying today. It was an amazing race. My body worked very well and my skis were perfect. It was an advantage to ski behind Ingvild (Flugstad Østberg). On the last downhill, I had to take my chances if I wanted to win. The fall was unfortunate but I am happy for 3rd place,” Pärmäkoski said after the race on Sunday.

With the mini tour victory, Weng is now leading the overall 2017 FIS World Cup, with Østberg in second place and Pärmäkoski in third.

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Krista Parmakoski (FIN)  was 3rd in the pursuit at FIS World Cup in Lillehammer (NOR), despite a fall on the final lap of the 10km race. Photo: Nordic Focus

Krista Parmakoski (FIN) was 3rd in the pursuit at FIS World Cup in Lillehammer (NOR), despite a fall on the final lap of the 10km race. Photo: Nordic Focus

Also this weekend
Pål Golberg (NOR), who was leading the sprint world cup after winning the sprint race at the FIS World Cup opener in Finland last weekend, also made it to the men’s final in the sprint on Friday, but broke a pole right after the start gun went off.

At the IBU biathlon World Cup in Östersund (SWE), Anaïs Bescond (FRA) started the season with a second place in the women’s 15-kilometer normal competition, which was the first individual World Cup race for the season.

At the Ski Classic long-distance series, Sara Lindborg (SWE) followed up her third place in the prologue last weekend with a third place again in the 35-kilometer La Sgambeda in Italy.